In more than 60 years of working with the poor, World Vision has constantly evolved its work in search of the best ways to get to sustained transformation.
Today, advocacy is an integral part of our work. At times this is equipping people to be their own advocates – to stand up for what is life-giving in their communities and to not feel they can only accept the status quo. At other times, it is mobilizing people to exercise their voice – letting decision-makers know that we want a world that is healthy and safe for all children.
The two stories here give a glimpse into this work. You can be a part of the work by signing up for the online newsletter.
Advocacy in the Field
World Vision uses an approach called Citizen Voice and Action to get to lasting change. Community members are trained to know their rights and responsibilities, and to do a social audit on services in their community. They are also equipped with effective advocacy tools to help them work with decision-makers to improve services.
Amahd’s Story: Rural Pakistan
Amahd trained as a paramedic but was never able to find work in his community. He became a farmer to support his family. But his concern for rural people’s health never waned. Tragically, it was reinforced when an aunt and her child died due to complications at birth. He vowed to work for better birth-giving facilities in his village so other women would not suffer the same fate.
Amahd worked tirelessly at his promise for more than a decade, but made little headway. Then he and other community members participated in a World Vision training on Citizen Voice and Action. Using the advocacy tools learned, the group began to mobilize for safe delivery facilities.
At first they were told that help was not possible. But the group persisted and made their case professionally and convincingly. Finally, district health officials agreed to establish a labour room at the basic health unit. Now, each month, between 20 and 25 babies are delivered at the clinic and about 80 women are seen for antenatal checkups.
In Ahmad’s own words, “When government officials announced good news of the labour room at the basic health unit, tears of happiness came in my eyes. My dream of safe deliveries… came true.”
Advocacy in Canada
With work in nearly 100 countries, World Vision is in touch with the difficulties children face like war, deep poverty, lack of basic health care and child exploitation. In Canada, we work with all political parties and various levels of government to seek constructive and long-lasting solutions to these issues. We also engage our supporters, churches and youth, so they can have a say in the kind of world they want for children.
Child Health Campaigning in Canada
Sara Shultz is the Child Health Policy Officer for World Vision Canada. At the time of the global health summit in May 2014 she was eight months pregnant with her second child. It added an extra poignancy to her message as she urged government leaders to increase their commitment to child and maternal health, particularly for the hardest to reach.
For a number of years, World Vision and others have encouraged the Government of Canada to make funding available for child and maternal health. We’ve undertaken media events, like the one pictured above, as well as email and social media campaigns – all to press the point home that Canadians care and want to see leadership on this issue.
In 2010, Canada led the world with a pledge of $1.1 billion in funding for maternal newborn and child health, which was then leveraged for a total of $7.3 billion globally. In 2014, Canada committed to an additional $3.5 billion over five years starting in 2015. Today, the increased funding is bearing fruit in programs that reduce child mortality